eCommerce Upselling: The Subtle Art of Increasing Sales

eCommerce Upselling: The Subtle Art of Increasing Sales

The best way to understand eCommerce upselling is by observing a real-life scenario.

eCommerce upselling

You are shopping on an eCommerce website and you’re just about to checkout. All of a sudden you spot a suggestion for a similar product. 

The suggested product comes with added features and utilities. In all likelihood, the suggested product either adds to your convenience and is ta more expensive. 

This is an example of eCommerce upselling.

What Is eCommerce upselling?

Simply put, eCommerce upselling is defined as a sales technique where the seller encourages the customer to purchase an expensive item as compared to the actual choice made by the customer.

This strategy makes the entire sale process more profitable.

Consider the example of “What are you shopping for today?” feature offered by Dell.

The feature not only furnishes customized recommendations based on your input but also lets you compare all their options (including the most expensive ones) side by side.

To explain, the study conducted by Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing performance shows that, “The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%”.

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Is eCommerce Upselling The Same As Cross-Selling?

Generally, both these sales strategies are often used interchangeably and are confused for the other.

In reality, upselling and cross-selling are not the same. Both have their benefits but can be used in tandem.

By and large, a cross-selling strategy encourages customers to buy related or complementary items.

Still confused?

Consider an eCommerce store that sells flowers. You are on the check-out page ready to buy 12 sticks of red roses.

A suggestion pops up to present you with an offer to buy a bouquet of 24 red roses at a lucrative price.

This is eCommerce upselling.

At the same time, the website also prompts you to buy the flowers along with a stunning glass vase. This is eCommerce cross-selling.

Why eCommerce Upselling Works?

Upselling works (most of the time) because it appeals to the psyche of the customers.

Okay, let’s try and explain this with the help of a little illustration.

The customer has already researched and zeroed down on a product.

The customer just needs to make the payment and complete the transaction. In other words, the customer is in ‘buying mode’.

Now when a better suggestion pops up, the customer is often lured into buying it even if it costs a bit higher. 

Not to mention, that no extra effort is required from the customer’s end to make this purchase. It is right there and your customer does not need to spend any additional time searching for it.

With this in mind, let’s get down to business.

Let us understand the various strategies involved in eCommerce upselling that can help us boost sales.

eCommerce Upselling Strategies

Strategy #1: Side By Side Comparison

Side by side comparison is a simple comparison of different products on the same platform.

This strategy neatly presents the customer with the alternative product(s) that have better features than the one they are originally interested in.

For example, consider Spotify. They present the customer with the breakdown of their free and premium version side by side.

The customer is instantly drawn towards all the services that Spotify has to offer at just $9.99 per month.

Strategy #2: Present Reasonable Alternatives

The key to flawless upselling is presenting your customer with reasonable alternatives; alternatives that fit both the budget and preference of the customer.

Consider an example where the customer is looking forward to buying headphones in the range of $100-200.

Even with the best of features and quality, the customer would certainly not be interested in a premium brand of headphones for $1,500.

It must be remembered that the customer would, however, be highly interested in a wireless noise-canceling headphone for $300.

Your upselling offer should align with the underlying needs and overall budget of the customer. 

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Strategy #3: Present Upgraded Alternative Products

Consider the example of Booking.com where the customer finds themselves subtly presented with upsell options right alongside their search for budget rooms.

Is this being pushy?

It is all about letting the customer know about the other available options they may not have been aware of.

It is all about providing them with a convenient means of upgrading at almost the same or a slightly higher price.

Strategy #4: Offer Better-Rated Products

Why is Amazon considered the king of upselling?

Out of many factors, the one secret is featuring alternative products that have better ratings.

Let’s consider an example where you are interested in buying a pair of sunglasses.

The chosen product looks pretty solid and fits the description of the style that you have in mind.

However, you notice that the chosen product has a rating of just three and a half stars.

Not a great rating, eh!

Scroll down and Amazon presents you with a hoard of other sunglasses with similar styles but better ratings.

Usually, they all have four and a half stars, much better than the three and a half you were initially interested in.

The customer is subtly persuaded to opt for alternative products with better ratings even if for a slightly higher price.

Strategy #5: Offer The ‘Recommended’ Option

This strategy brings the psychological element into play and customers are bound to go with the ‘bestseller’ option.

Let’s consider the example of BuzzSumo, a content analysis platform that presents its customers with the details of all its plans side by side.

The customer in the majority of the cases is most likely to go with the most affordable plan.

However, the website draws the attention of the customer to the ‘recommended’ plan. The plan offers extra features at a minimal added cost.

This is a smart way to entice prospects into buying from you by making the decision for them. This way you offer your customers a valuable solution.

eCommerce Upselling Tools

Now that we understand eCommerce upselling and the various strategies to go about it, you might be probably thinking, “Okay, I understand the fundamental strategies. But how do I integrate these strategies with my e-commerce store?”

Several tools will do that for you.

eCommerce Upselling Automation Tools

Upselling automation tools not only save you time but also offer personalized recommendations; optimized and based on each customer’s unique purchase behavior pattern.

So without any further ado, let’s have a sneak peek at these automation tools.

  • Shopify’s Product Upsell – The tool allows you upsell to customers all at the click of a button. It is the number one reviewed and most popular upsell tool on Shopify.
  • PrestaShop’s Upsell Module – This module suggests additional products for specific products, thereby promoting products and boosting sales.
  • Magento’s Mass Product Relater – This tool displays related products that help increase the chances of customers buying higher-priced products or even buying extra products.
  • WooCommerce Recommendations – This tool allows you to display recommendations on your check out the page along with an array of similar products on your product pages.

Final Thoughts

All in all, eCommerce upselling is a simple ‘win-win’ strategy.

This is to say that it not only provides your customers with greater value products but also boosts your revenue.

When applied pragmatically, it is one of the most effective strategies to boost online sales.

Yes, it is true that not all your customers will switch to the costlier suggestion, but the strategy in due time will add up to better results.

By implementing and exploiting the upselling strategies mentioned here, you should be able to increase your revenue right from the get-go. and grow multifold in the long run. 

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